Brother Edward (John) Fitzpatrick, C.S.C. (1826-1901)
“Another link between the old days and the new was snapped when the venerable Brother Edward passed away last Monday (January 14) afternoon. For the past two or three years his health has been failing; for many months he had taken an active part in the Councils of the Administration; day by day his strength failing, until at last his gentle soul went forth to receive the reward exceedingly great. Few lives — at least to human seeming — deserve that reward so thoroughly as did Brother Edward’s. The beautiful analysis of his character pronounced by Father French at the funeral impressed all hearers with its justice and adequacy . . . Brother Edward was one of the trusted counsellors of Father Sorin in the up building of Notre Dame; for 38 years he was the Treasurer of the Congregation of Holy Cross, deputed to worry over financial matters while his fellow-religious labored in the pulpit or class-room. His problem was to make a small income fit a large expenditure, and in the terrible days following the great fire of 1879 that problem was distressing painfully. Earlier in the history of Notre Dame — when angry creditors stalked through the halls of our University threatening to foreclose mortgages and to turn the halls of our University threatening to foreclose mortgages and to turn the Community, few in numbers and destitute of resources, into the street; when horses were unyoked from the plow to be sold that a pressing debt might be paid, and when religious who had taught laboriously during the school year were required to seek relaxation in the harvest fields during vacation — in those earlier days there were indeed heavier anxieties. But no one will ever know the laborious days and sleepless nights which made up Brother Edward’s life when fire swept away the work of 35 years and when the makers of Notre Dame had to begin all over again with the same old problem of big debts and small resources to face. It would not surprise us if a life so entangled in secular affairs should be wanting somewhat in religious regularity, but it is to the testimony of Brother Edward’s confreres in religion that in all the observances of he Community life he was a model and an inspiration. He was a man of great faith and great charity. To innumerable persons he was ‘guide, philosopher, and friend’, and his daily round of duties was never complete until he had imparted advice, consolation, or encouragement to such as needed these helps. He was not a mere business man wearing the habit of a monk; he was devoted wholly to his office work because it was imposed on him by religion. In short, he was of old heroic mold, a worthy coadjutor of Father Sorin, and the brave, strong men who built an institution of higher learning in the wilderness with a hope that time has justified and a courage that later generations can never cease to admire” (SCHOLASTIC, 34:279-80, 1901).
Bishop Pierre Dufal, C.S.C. (1822-1898)
Pierre Dufal was born in 1822, in Saint-Gervais d’Aubergne (Puy-de-Dôme), France. He professed vows in Holy Cross in 1852 and was ordained a priest in 1853. Assigned to the Congregation’s mission in East Bengal, India, in 1858, he was appointed Vicar Apostolic of Dhaka and ordained a bishop in 1860. He was the first member of the Congregation to be elevated to that rank. After the resignation of Blessed Basil Moreau in 1866, the General Chapter sought someone as Superior General who had not been involved in the controversies surrounding the founder’s resignation. They elected Bishop Dufal, who resisted accepting the office for a year. Finally, Dufal was assigned as the Superior General of Congregation of Holy Cross in 1866 by Pope Pius IX. A single year in France convinced the bishop that he was not the man to resolve the community’s problems, and he resigned as Superior General and returned to East Bengal in 1868. He participated in the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) as one of the council fathers. In 1875, the Congregation withdrew temporarily from India, and Dufal’s resignation as the Vicar Apostolic of Eastern Bengal was accepted by Pope Pius IX on July 28, 1876. Dufal moved to Rome where he served as Procurator General for the community until 1878 when Pope Leo XIII assigned Dufal as the Coadjutor Bishop of Galveston. In 1880 Pope Leo XIII accepted his resignation from that position for reasons of health. He returned to France, residing at the Congregation’s college in Neuilly, a Parisian suburb where he died in 1898.
Mother Pauline (Bridget) O’Neill, C.S.C. (1854-1835)
Mother Pauline was born Bridget O’Neill in Illinois in 1854. She entered the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1879 and served in missions in Austin, Texas, and Ogden, Utah before returning to lead Saint Mary’s Academy, which later became Saint Mary’s College in 1895. Mother Pauline became the first President of Saint Mary’s College in 1895 and served in that capacity through 1931. She laid the foundation for today’s Saint Mary’s – the builder – not just buildings, but curricula was built to provide a holistic education – mind, heart and physical. “The education given at Saint Mary’s is of the most practical and comprehensive character. It is intended to train the heart as well as the mind, to form women who will not only grace society with their accomplishments but honor and edify it by their virtues” ( Catalogue 1895-96). The buildings she built were to enhance student learning in every way, helping students build their character – as women and as educated women – as Saint Mary’s women. Stella Hamilton Stapleton (1892 graduate) was a good friend of Mother Pauline, and in 1916, she gave $50,000 to start a building fund. When asked several years later on an Alumnae Association questionnaire what she considered her greatest achievement, she said “I had the honor of giving the first $50,000 towards Mother Pauline’s dream of our present magnificent new College building at Saint Mary’s”. By the early 1920s the fund was approximately $100,000, and Mother Pauline was able to convince the General Council of the Sisters of the Holy Cross that a new building could no longer be delayed if the college was to maintain its place as a leading U.S. Catholic women’s college. When the cornerstone for the new hall was laid in 1924, commencement and reunion brought more than 700 guests to the ceremonies – 80 years since the little school opened in Bertrand, MI. – and gave promise to the 20th century campus and indeed to the 21st century. Upon completion in 1925 there were those who said “There is no finer college in America or Europe. It is a thing of beauty.” The new hall was named Le Mans after the city in France where Blessed Basil Moreau had founded the Sisters of the Holy Cross in 1841. This was the last of Mother Pauline’s buildings, and it is fitting that the portrait of the builder hangs in this great hall, on the opposite wall from Blessed Moreau, and in front of Stapleton Lounge named for Stella Hamilton Stapleton, friend and benefactor of Mother Pauline. The Saint Mary’s yearbook, The Blue Mantle, of 1928 was dedicated to Mother Pauline in these words: “Of her prayers and eternal dreams this builder for God has erected an ageless monument to His glory! As long as the towers of Saint Mary’s stand, the spirit of Mother Pauline will abide therein raising the heavenward.” (Smith, C.S.C., Brother Philip edited from the website saintmarys.edu/files/Mother-Pauline.pdf. No author nor date of publication).